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how to dig a Basement ?????

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by reaper020, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. reaper020

    reaper020 Well-Known Member

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    Anyone on here dig basements. I may have to do a few for the company I am working for. I have experiance running hoe installing water and sewer but never had to do a basement before. Any tips you guys can give me would be appreciated. :)
     
  2. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    Well for starters make sure they lay out the basement for you. Personally I like to paint the lines for the house in one color and the garage in another. Thats my own quirk. Make sure you understand the elevation to dig at. Don't forget to factor in the height of the wall plus the footing height in calculating. On a 9' basement I usually do a 5' split on the garage grade. Check with the concrete guy to find out the garage split. I use an Apache Plus 5 as a grade checker, saves jumping out and checking grade or having someone in the hole holding up a grade rod. Its easier with an excavator. You want to plan ahead as you dig to manage your spoil piles, separate the topsoil if you have any. You want to minimize having to rehandle the spoil piles. You want to overdig the foundation for the setting of concrete forms. Here I over dig 3' unless its a real deep basement.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  3. RonG

    RonG Charter Member

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    Make sure that you take the frost exposure into account.If it is a walkout you need to get below frost level with your footings.That is always a concern in frost country.
    Have your corner pins offset 10' or more on the long side.I don't go too nuts with markouts and once you get comfortable with digging a straight line between the pins by eye you will understand the reason,every time you swing the loaded bucket over the lines you spill some and cover them up.I usually mark the four corners with a squirt and the intersection of garage and living area and maybe hatchway.I often dig the hatchway last if I can get to it easily.
    I dig one bucketwidth outside of the line for the form guys to work in.Try to dig the perimeters first if you can because it is much easier to keep a straight wall and it looks much better.
    Plan your excavation ahead of time taking into consideration where the spoil must go,sometimes you need that material to build access ramps for the mixers.
    There are many other considerations if the lot will have a well and/or septic system but they should be spelled out on the plot plan/print which you should have on hand before you dig.Good luck.Ron G
     
  4. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Senior Member

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    One of my favorite children's book of all times gave some of the best advice. Don't end up like Mike Mulligan, make sure you leave a way out.

    On a serious note. I have only dug two (both for myself) but the advice to manage the spoils is good. It was really a pain moving the piles twice, moving them the following week after they had sat. Rushing to move them so that the form guys and concrete could get in. Get them as far away as you can.
     
  5. 245dlc

    245dlc Senior Member

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    I have dug several, it's a lot harder than digging a trench for pipelines. If the basement is to be on a footing a lot of the concrete guys will wine and cry if your more than an inch or two off, and as for your offsets they should all be marked out for you, at least that's how it's done here in Winnipeg. If your going to use a laser for your grade, then also get a receiver that you can magnetically attach to the stick on your excavator, the best ones have a plumb indicator built into them which will give you the most accurate reading than trying to guess from the cab. If you don't have a feature like that it's pretty easy to be out. This is a link to a unit that I've used before they're pretty expensive and more than worth it. http://www.leica-geosystems.ca/en/Leica-Basic-Digging-Systems_4685.htm
    And also one of the old guys that taught me to dig basements always said, it's now about how you dig the basement, it's about how you dig to finish the basement. As for placing your spoil piles you want to place them in such a way that they are in a convenient place for backfill, depending on how much room you have.
     
  6. lgammon

    lgammon Senior Member

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    i know i you said you are using a hoe but the best way to dig a basement is with a track loader. there are our rules per say. you strip the topsoil and take it to the highest back corner of the lot( on subdivision lots, not big farms) this is for the fact that this is the last thing needed on the lot and any closer it will just be in the way for masons concreate trucks....and every one else. then the clay take it to the other corner and pile it up. making sure you do not stock pile where the septic system goes. we always daylight our basements. we start out digging in to the hill at our finish grade or just a few inches above. so that as we dig we are also walking in the basment pad. make sure you build the driveway to the house when you dig the basement, this is so that all the trucks comming on and off the property pack the road in, and that you don't have to cut through hard pack at the end of building when you are prepping for pavement. we set out our basments 3-4 feeet and dig inside the stakes . keep the wall straight as you can as hangers can get people hurt working on the out side of the walls. get the floor good and level it is hard to fix with a bobcat later, also makes digging footers easyer as your lines don't get messed up as easy when the floor is fairly slick. as a side note one of the best things i have seen a builder do is after the footers are poored is to go ahead and put the stone in there before they bring the block, as you can just spread them with a truck and it keeps every thing clean
     
  7. reaper020

    reaper020 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replys some good info here for me. I was wondering with the straight edges is there any concerns with the bank sluffing and hitting a former?
     
  8. 245dlc

    245dlc Senior Member

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    Yeah track loaders are kinda the old fashioned way of doing things up north here, an excavator with a smooth edged bucket is really the best way, unlike a track loader and excavator sits up top and doesn't have to drive on the finished grade and disturb any soil plus there is little to no loose soil left behind to shovel. Where I live the concrete guys will cry and wine if they've gotta shovel any dirt or mud. If you have a tilt bucket they're great for sloping the sides and you really don't want all the dirt to one side of the property as it has to be all moved back to backfill the basement. If you have enough room on site you can always slope your spoil piles so that the concrete guys can have room to walk around or have room to position they're stacks of form boards. What kind of properties are you digging basements on? City subdivision? acreage? small town? The amount of room you have on site will always dictate as to where you can pile up your spoil and how the concrete guys can access the site. Our safety laws here also dictate how the concrete trucks access the site they can't pull up right along side the excavation anymore so everything is pumped with concrete pump trucks and they a lot of the time will block off the whole road or close to it when they pump a basement with how they're outriggers are set up.
     
  9. reaper020

    reaper020 Well-Known Member

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    I am not totaly sure where the lots are but pretty sure they are going to be in town subdivision lots with little room for spoil piles.

     
  10. 245dlc

    245dlc Senior Member

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    Yeah you'll probably have to have trucks haul it away and then haul some of it back for backfill. The company I use to work for, we did jobs like that all the time especially in the inner city where they would hardly have a two foot offset. We often ended up hauling about 80-95% of the fill away and if things could be coordinated the right way we would dig another one and have a backfill contractor with a bobcat at the one being backfilled so we could send some of our tandems there with fill. More often than not the side yards if you wanna call them that would have to be backfilled by hand so we'd dump a couple loads in the backyard till they needed more.
     
  11. tonka

    tonka Senior Member

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    Just don't pull a Mike Mulligan, and you will do fine.
     
  12. watglen

    watglen Senior Member

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    All great info, maybe one day i'll get the chance to ruin someones' house.

    But yall forgot the most important step. Remember to bring a pump and some hose, cuz it'll start raining before you're done, and it'll rain for 3 days!

    I've seen the worst drought in history solved by simply starting a construction project diggin' a hole. Works every time.

    Good luck

    :) kidding
     
  13. 245dlc

    245dlc Senior Member

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    Usually I wash my truck and then it rains. lol
     
  14. fhdesign

    fhdesign Well-Known Member

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    All good advise, the only thing I'd add is I always make sure I have a bench mark for the footing elevation in place before excavation and keep it intact and accessible after excavation, for when the customer questions why I dug so deep or not deep enough. I also try to leave two off-set stakes, that the customer puts in, for the same reason.
     
  15. 245dlc

    245dlc Senior Member

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    Yeah this is a good point too, I have had the concrete people accuse me of digging too deep or too shallow and then showed them the benchmark for the excavation and after a lot of fussing and bitching he found that he was looking at the wrong blueprints. We also had others where the concrete guy had staked out the basement two feet on to the adjacent property and the neighbour wouldn't let it go so we ended up demolishing the new basement. Either way it was win win as my boss made some extra money doing a demolition.
     
  16. RonG

    RonG Charter Member

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    I have had an owner or GC tell me to dig deeper at times then nobody tells the others whose work depends on having the correct elevation such as the septic system installers and nobody can figure out why the leachfields are too high.Ron G